Friday, 15 March 2013

Spanish delights...

I am reading the most brilliant book at the moment:  "The Shadow of the Wind" by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, a Spanish author.  What a treat!  It is one of those books you can't put down but at the same time you don't want it to end.  I am only allowing myself to read a few chapters at a time to make it last longer but the suspense is killing me because I want to find out what happens next.  Don't you just love books?

Mango Salsa...
Continuing the slightly summery theme from the last couple of days, here is today's recipe: mango salsa.  It tastes so fresh and fragrant and whilst we had it with the lamb burgers the other day, I think it would also go extremely well with grilled fish or prawns.  Simply mix some chopped mango, cucumber, coriander, red onion, chilli (or chilli flakes) with a dash of lime or lemon juice and season with salt & pepper.  Job done!
To be honest, the amount of each ingredient depends on how fruity or spicy you like your food - I just went easy on the lemon juice as I didn't want the salsa to be too tangy.  You could also add tomatoes or bell peppers but I quite like this simple version.

I already have a couple of recipes to try out and share with you next week - can't wait!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Dreaming of summer...

Sunshine in a glass...
What a stunning morning it is!  Cold but sunny with blue skies - just perfect for walking the dog.  Before I went out, we had a lovely breakfast smoothie I whipped up for us in the blender - banana, mango, pineapple (frozen leftovers), plain yogurt, milk, a dash of apple juice and topped off with some cinnamon.  De-li-cious!  I didn't fancy a "proper" breakfast first thing but knew I needed something before the walk, so this was perfect.  I often freeze leftover fruit in small batches to use up in smoothies - it also means I don't have to add any ice to the drink which is great, especially in summer.

Lamb & Feta Burgers...

Last night I tried out another new recipe I had found: lamb & feta burgers.  Oh, they were good!  I changed the original recipe a little and we had them with homemade potato wedges on a little piece of focaccia bread.  I can definitely recommend these as a nice change from beef burgers (although I dare say these would work equally well with minced beef, poultry and possibly even with vegetarian mince, although I have not tried this).  On the BBQ these should be lovely.

Do you get the feeling I am ready for summer? :-)

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Belly warmers...

Late again - not sure what is going on at the moment but my early morning blogging appears to have been sidelined by dog duties, chores etc. 

Breakfast was a rather large bowl of porridge this morning. I love porridge!  To save time in the morning, I usually soak the oats in hot water (from the kettle) and a bit of milk in a saucepan overnight - that way, I just have to heat it up with a bit more milk in the morning.  Sometimes I just fancy it plain but this morning I added a handful of raisins to it.  I think my favourite is apple, raisin and cinnamon :-)  I love how this type of breakfast really sets me up for the day and warms me through and through.

Talking of apples, raisins and cinnamon, I have a lovely recipe for muffins that are just too yummy for words.  I made a small batch of these just the other day, putting half in the freezer for another time.  I have had these warmed up with vanilla ice cream for a cheeky dessert or just plain without anything added. Either way, they are very tasty!

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Of flat breads and not so flat running...

Oops - I'm a bit late today!  After walking the dog for a long time this morning, I put on my running shoes and actually went for a run.  It was freezing cold down by the sea with the icy wind bashing around my ears.  And on the way back I had to run up two long and steep hills, just to finish me off. I loved it! :-). I used to run quite regularly (never fast or particularly well) and enjoy it, so I'll try and get into that habit again, now the winter is over (haha - so much for it being over - the temperatures are around freezing and we are still getting the odd snowflake).

Anyway, on to today's recipe!

I love eating wraps - add a delicious filling and make a great lunch or turn into a Mexican meal for dinner...simply yummy!  I usually buy a packet of wraps from the supermarket - the cheapest ones cost around £1.20 for a packet of 8 wraps.  But I wanted to make my own.  My River Cottage Bread Handbook has a recipe for tortillas and I thought I'd give it a go.  OMG - it is so easy!!!!  I actually feel embarrassed to think that I have been buying the packaged stuff for so long when making these little beauties is just so easy.  And not only that - making your own is far cheaper, contains no preservatives or additives and is super-tasty as well.  And no plastic rubbish either!  Just think:  a 1kg bag of organic white flour costs roughly £1.30 here and would be enough to make 32 (!!!) tortilla breads.  All you need is to add some water and salt.  So, for almost the same amount of money you can make four times as many wraps!  I was really shocked when I realised this.  And it doesn't take long at all either.  I'm not saying I'll never buy the supermarket ones again (after all, life sometimes gets in the way & then we need convenience) but I think I will definitely try and make these from scratch as often as I can.  I hope you'll give these a go - they are fabulous!

Monday, 11 March 2013

Childhood favourites...

Brrrr...I am not too sure what happened to Spring but it surely has disappeared from Wales.  It is absolutely freezing and we are even expecting some snow again today.  Oh well - nothing I can do about it apart from wrapping up warm when taking Keith the dog out for his walks.  

With Mr Happy Larder having been away for a few days, I mainly feasted on leftovers but I also made one of my childhood favourites: pasta bake with tomato sauce.  This is a very basic meal but I remember it from when I was a child and still love it.  I'm pretty sure we had it because it was not only tasty but also affordable and looking at the nutritional value, I think it is not doing too badly either ;-)

The recipe is so easy, you don't actually need a "proper" recipe for it.  For two portions, simply cook enough dried pasta for 2 people according to the packet instructions and once done, place in an ovenproof dish together with a good helping of frozen peas (or other frozen vegetables).  In a bowl, mix 2 large eggs with a bit of milk and seasoning; then pour over the pasta.  Now top with grated cheese and pop in the oven at 180 - 200c for about 20 - 25 minutes.  The egg will cook, the cheese will melt and get crispy and you will have a quick and tasty meal. You can also add ham to the dish - simply chop and stir into the pasta/veg mix before pouring over the eggs.

This is best served with a simple tomato sauce.  For mine, I melted a knob of butter in a saucepan and added half a chopped onion.  Gently cook until translucent, then add a spoonful of flour.  Now add a couple of spoonfuls of tomato puree, some water, salt & pepper and some dried Italian herbs.  Job done - easy tomato sauce!  Enjoy!